BIRMINGHAM - A 9-year-old British-Filipina snagged the gold medal in the Mini Acrobatic Solo category in the week-long Dance World Cup 2017 held in Offenburg, Germany.
Chantelle Tonolete, who represented England, also received 5 more gold medals and 2 silver medals in troupe categories. The Mini Acro champion, who discovered her passion for dancing at the age of five, took home a total of 9 medals.
The dance competition is dubbed as the greatest all-genre competition in the world for children and young adults. This year, some 22,000 competitors from 47 countries participated the elite dance tilt.
"I worked so hard so it means the world to me," said Tonolete.
Before joining the world dance tilt, Tonolete trained under the Spotlight Stage School. She had to qualify for team England and endured a grueling six-month training.
At a young age, Tonolete understood the value of discipline and committed to training when she qualified.
"We had 6 months of training and we do it 4-5 times a week. On Sundays, they are very long because we do all the troupes," she said.
Tonolete said she was initially enticed to join the dance training school because of her friends.
The dance champion wants to continue dancing and representing England.
"When I grow up, I want to be a teacher but also, I want to continue being a dancer. So if you merge them together, I would probably be a dance teacher and that’s what I want to be," she said.
Doors of opportunities are opening up for Tonolete. She is playing a lead role in a touring musical in the UK, which will start in October.
Tonolete was not the only British-Pinoy who brought home gold medals for Team England.
Ganica Olipas, Nicole Manumbre, Samantha Chan, Angeli Sagala, Melvin Manunbre, Macy Galimpin and Sophia Tejero all made their country proud in various dance categories such as 9 and under Mini Troupe, 13 and under Children’s and Acro Troupe; 9 and under Mini Tap Troupe; 13 and under Children’s Song and Dance, 17 and under Acro Troupe.
Team England bought home the most medals in various categories, making it the world titleholder for five consecutive years.
The children shared their medals with their parents who supported them in their endeavor.
"I dedicate them to my family because they really support me. They bring me to rehearsal and they give up their time for me," said 9-year-old Angeli Sagala who received 4 golds and one silver.
"I also dedicate it to my family because they gave up their time for me and they keep on supporting me," said 9-year-old Ganica Olipas.
They likewise acknowledged the support they received from the Spotlight Stage School.
Spotlight Stage School based in North Solihull trains its students in all aspects of dance and theater art. It had 66 students who qualified for Team England, seven of whom are British-Pinoys.
In the school’s website, it paid tribute to the young British-Pinoy dancers.
"We have a fantastic Filipino community at Spotlight and over the years these children have experienced great success. Between them they have won numerous world titles as well as appearing in many professional UK tours; The Lion King, King & I, Miss Saigon, Angelina Ballerina: the Mousical and will soon start the UK tour of Nativity the Musical. Such kind, heart-working and talented children. They deserve all the success they get," it said.
For the young British-Pinoy dancers, who feel they both carry the Philippine and England flags, it’s always an honor to represent their country in the international stage.
"Even if I represent England, I still feel the competitive spirit of a Pinoy," said 13-year-old Melvin Manumbre.
"I’m a Filipino 100% so even though I’m representing England I have that blood running through my veins as a Filipino . I don’t mind either way, I’m proud to be both, " said Nicole Manumbre, 14 years old.